78. SATISFIED WITH HIS SITUATION
[The following may not be strictly true, but it well illustrates that there is always a lower depth in misfortune, and–that Western roads are often somewhat muddy.]
Some years ago, when riding along one of the almost impassable roads in the far West, I observed a dark-looking object lying in the middle of the road, and my natural curiosity impelled me to dismount and examine it. It proved to be a hat, somewhat muddy and dilapidated, but emphatically a hat. On lifting it up, to my surprise I found that it covered a head–a human head–which protruded sufficiently out of the mud to be recognizable as such. I ventured to address the evidently wide-awake head, and remarked that it seemed to be in a pretty bad sort of a fix.
“Wa’al, yes!” the lips replied; “you’re about right thar, stranger; _but then I ain’t anyway near as bad off as the horse that’s under me_!”
79. A GOOD WORD FOR THE DEVIL
A conference preacher one day went into the house of a Wesleyan Reformer, and saw the portraits of three expelled ministers suspended from the walls.
“What!” said he, “have you got them hanging there?”
“Oh! yes,” was the answer; “they are there.”
“Ah! well; but one is wanted to complete the set.”
“Pray, who is that?”
“Why, the devil, to be sure.”
“Ah!” said the Reformer, “but he is not yet expelled from the Conference.”
80. MARRYING A WIDOW
In Cadiz, Ohio, a preacher was summoned to the hotel to make an expectant couple one. In the course of the preliminary inquiries the groom was asked if he had been married before, and admitted that he had been–three times. “And is this lady a widow,” was also asked, but he responded promptly and emphatically, “No, sir; _I never marry widows_.”
81. A GOOD SALE
Several years ago there resided in Saratoga County a lawyer of considerable ability and reputation, but of no great culture, who had an unusually fine taste in paintings and engravings–the only evidence of refinement he ever exhibited. A clergyman of the village in which he lived, knowing his fondness for such things, introduced to him an agent of a publishing house in the city who was issuing a pictorial Bible in numbers. The specimen of the style of work exhibited to the lawyer was a very beautiful one, and he readily put down his name for a copy. But in the progress of the publication the character of the engravings rapidly deteriorated, much to the disgust of the enlightened lawyer. The picture of Joseph, very indifferently done, provoked him beyond endurance, and seizing several of the numbers he sallied forth to reproach the parson for leading him into such a bad bargain. “Look at these wretched scratches,” said he, turning the pages over, “and see how I have been imposed upon! Here is a portrait of Joseph, whom his brethren sold to the Egyptians for twenty pieces of silver; and let me tell you, parson, _if Joseph looked like that it was a mighty good sale_!”
82. TRIUMPHS OF MEDICINE
A priest was called upon by a superstitious parishioner, who asked him to do something for her sick cow. He disclaimed knowing anything about such matters, but could not put her off. She insisted that if he would only say some words over the cow, the animal would surely recover. Worn out with importunity, he seized his book in desperation, walked around the four-legged patient several times, repeating in a sonorous voice the Latin words, which mean, “If you die, you die; and if you live, you live,” and rushed off disgusted. But the woman was delighted, and sooth to say the cow quickly recovered.
But in time the good man himself was taken sick, and grew rapidly worse. His throat was terribly swollen, and all medical aid was exhausted. The word passed around the parish that the priest must die. When Bridget heard the peril of her favorite pastor she was inspired by a mighty resolve. She hurried to the sick-room, entered against the protest of the friends who were weeping around, and with out a word to any one with her strong hands dragged his reverence’s bed to the middle of the floor, and with the exact copy of his very gestures and voice marched around the bed, repeating the sonorous and well-remembered Latin phrase, “If you die, you die; and if you live, you live.” The priest fell into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, and in his struggle for breath and self-control the gathering in his throat broke and his life was saved!
Mighty are the triumphs of medicine!
83. TIT FOR TAT
An old fellow in a neighboring town, who is original in all things, especially in excessive egotism, and who took part in the late war, was one day talking to a crowd of admiring listeners, and boasting of his many bloody exploits, when he was interrupted by the question:
“I say, old Joe, how many of the enemy did you kill during the war?”
“How many did I kill sir? _how many_ enemies did I kill? Well, I don’t know just ‘zactly _how_ many; but I know this much–I killed as many o’ them _as they did o’ me_!”